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4 Signs Your Digital Forensics Lab is Ready for Automation & Orchestration

Automation and orchestration solutions can help you increase your lab’s efficiency so that you process more cases faster and improve service levels to your agency — but only if you’re ready. 

While automation and orchestration are not new concepts — in fact, a level of automation is already integrated into Magnet Forensics tools, such as Magnet AXIOM — utilizing automation and orchestration within the lab to create an efficient and seamless workflow is relatively new. That’s why it may be challenging to tell if your lab is ready to utilize this technology. 

Here are four signs that your digital forensic lab is ready to utilize the power of automation and orchestration:  
 

1. Your Digital Forensics Lab Is Struggling to Turnaround Cases in a Timely, Efficient Manner

When a case is submitted to your digital forensics’ lab, how long does it take to return it to the investigator? The longer critical evidence sits in your queue, the more that risk increases as criminals continue to walk free in your community.  

If your current backlog is increasing more and more by the day, it’s time to consider a new approach to digital investigations by leveraging technology. Automation and orchestration can alleviate the burden on your skilled examiners who are oftentimes repeating the same tasks over and over where in fact technology would be best suited to moving the case forward. In fact, with Magnet AUTOMATE, a large metropolitan law enforcement agency in the UK was able to guarantee a turnaround time of 78 hours.  

2. You’ve Invested in Modernizing Your Lab’s Infrastructure, but Productivity Is Still Low

You’ve recently modernized your lab’s infrastructure  — congratulations! You may have purchased new hardware to improve your processing speeds, increased your networking speeds, or increased your storage (i.e. more RAM, SSDs, faster CPUs). You may have also audited and upgraded your digital forensics toolkit to ensure that your examiners have world-class software to get the job done right and faster. 

But if your new hardware and software sits idle in the lab overnight and on weekends, then you’re not utilizing these (likely expensive) assets to their full capacity. Naturally, you can’t have your examiners returning to the lab on evenings and weekends to kick off the next step in the workflow. 

This is where orchestration and automation can help you maximize the ROI on your infrastructure investments. By queuing up cases to process across available workstations seamlessly and efficiently, you can image and process evidence overnight or on the weekend — there’s no need for an examiner to come into the lab to click “next” on a tool. Magnet AUTOMATE allows you to seamlessly integrate any forensic tool into your automated workflow (even custom scripts that your expert examiners have meticulously created) as well as process and create exports for multiple items of evidence in parallel instead of completing one at a time. Evidence items can then be merged into a single case for evidence review. 

3. Standard Operating Procedures Are in Place, but Deviations (And Errors) Still Occur

When consistency and case quality matter, even the smallest of errors can result in a case being dismissed in court. An outcome nobody wants to see.  

Fortunately, automation allows you to create a consistent and automated workflow to handle the imaging and processing part of your workflow. The result? Human errors are eliminated, and a high-quality, consistent, analysis-ready case is delivered to your lab’s stakeholders each and every time. With Magnet AUTOMATE’s workflow builder, you and your expert examiners can visually design your lab’s workflows using an easy drag-and-drop interface that’s highly configurable and flexible. Now, even forensic technicians or junior members of the team can kick off complex workflows, allowing expert time to be spent where it matters most – on the analysis and reporting. 

4. Your Examiners Are Wasting Valuable Time on Repetitive, Manual Tasks

Does it ever feel like you’re working harder than ever but not making a meaningful dent on the real work that needs to get done? If your examiners are spending most of their time on manual, repetitive tasks that follow a repeatable workflow, then they’re likely feeling this way too. 

Being burdened with manual tasks that do not take full advantage of their expert skillset is not only wasteful of valuable hours, it results in less time spent where they add the most value- and ultimately fewer cases making it to court fast enough. Also, less time is spent sharpening analysis skills which means they’re likely to need to use more of their personal time to keep their analysis skills up to speed leading to burn out, job dissatisfaction, and turnover. By integrating orchestration and automation into your lab, you can let technology handle the repetitive tasks at machine-speed, while allowing your examiners to focus where their skills matter most, such as complex analysis and reporting. 

If most of these signs resonated with you, it’s likely time to implement an automation and orchestration solution, such as Magnet AUTOMATE.  

Interested in Learning More About Magnet AUTOMATE?

Watch our on-demand webinar “Unlock Capacity & Improve Service to Your Agency with Magnet AUTOMATE” to learn more about the solution, key benefits already realized by law enforcement agencies like yours, and a demo of Magnet AUTOMATE in action. 

Ready to Find Efficiencies in Your Lab with Magnet AUTOMATE?

Contact sales@magnetforensics.com and let us help you implement an enhanced, modern approach to digital forensics. 

Start modernizing your digital investigations today.

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